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What's Up, Doc? How to Eat Your Way to Healthy Eyes without Carrots

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From being able to watch a favorite television show to seeing your child for the first time, the importance of your eyes is easy to see. Unfortunately, you may not be placing enough time and energy into improving your vision and underlying eye health. Considering 14 million Americans 12 years of age and older suffer with a form of vision impairment and 20.5 million adults have cataracts, it's vital to improve your eye health in order to prevent future eye disorders.

While glasses and surgeries can correct vision issues and eye conditions, eating a well-balanced diet full of important vitamins and minerals is also helpful. Most people know that carrots are good for the eyes, but you do not have to focus your diet entirely on this vegetable to improve your eye health. Consuming other foods rich in important vitamins and minerals will also improve your vision and the overall health of your eyes.

Beta-Carotene/Vitamin A

Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, which is a carotenoid that gives the vegetable its classic orange hue, and it offers several health benefits.

For example, beta-carotene converts into vitamin A when it enters the body. This vitamin not only strengthens eye membranes, but also your body's immune system, helping fight off illness and disease. Fortunately, you do not have to eat like a rabbit to ensure your body gets a sufficient amount of beta-carotene and vitamin A. If you are tired of chomping on carrots, consider the following beta-carotene rich foods:

  • spinach
  • lettuce
  • tomatoes
  • sweet potatoes
  • broccoli
  • winter squash
  • cantaloupe

Omega-3 Fatty Acid

Eating foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids offer enormous benefits for your health. Not only will these foods reduce high blood pressure and triglyceride levels, but omega-3 fatty acids may also improve depression and decrease pain from arthritis. Of course, foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids also improve the health of your eyes.

Fatty acids can decrease your risk of developing macular degeneration, which is a leading cause of blindness in Americans over 65 years of age. Omega-3 fatty acids can also improve the drainage of fluid from the eye, which reduces pressure and your risk of glaucoma.

To consume more foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, add more fish to your diet. Tuna, mackerel, sardines, and salmon are great options. If you are not a fan of fish, consider eating more soybeans, walnuts, tofu, flaxseed, and canola oil. These are also good sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin

Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids like beta-carotene, which makes vitamin A. However, lutein and zeaxanthin are actually found in the retina and lens. These carotenoids act as antioxidants, absorbing damaging light before it permanently affects your eye and quality of vision.

Increasing your intake of foods rich in lutein and zeaxanthin may not only reduce your risk of macular degeneration, but also stop or slow the progression of this common eye disorder.

To ensure your body is receiving enough lutein and zeaxanthin, increase the amount of green leafy vegetables you eat each day. Cooked kale and spinach are your best sources for these important carotenoids.

Collards, turnips, green peas, corn, broccoli, green beans, and eggs are also smart additions to your eye-healthy diet.

Vitamin C

 Ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, is an antioxidant found in a variety of fruits and vegetables. This imperative vitamin improves your body's immune system while also strengthening the cell membranes and blood vessels of your eyes. This will not only decrease your risk of developing cataracts and macular degeneration, but also prevent or improve any vision loss you may already be suffering from.

You most likely know that oranges are key foods to consume if you want to increase your intake of vitamin C. Eating more grapefruit, apples, bananas, and peaches can also increase your vitamin C consumption.

By following a healthy diet rich in these important vitamins and minerals and visiting your optometrist regularly, you can improve your vision and the health of your eyes without eating carrots. For further information, contact an optometrist through a website like